A HEREFORDSHIRE based co-driver will be taking on Europe’s top rally stars again this weekend when he competes in Grand Canaria.
Keaton Williams, aged 25, showed his talent recently when he and Irish driver Josh McErlean finished 11th in Rally Hungary, despite a puncture ruining their chances of a top-10 finish, writes Paul Willetts
However, the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy and Hyundai Motorsport pairing were rewarded with an entry into the FIA European Rally Championship finale, the Rally Islas Canaries this weekend.
The Gran Canaria based event is now the final round of the European championship, after the proposed final round Spa Rally in Belgium was cancelled last week.
And with both the overall and junior titles up for grabs there is all to play for.
A superb entry of 97 cars will line up in Las Palmas for the 17 special stages covering some 202 kilometres of abrasive asphalt roads on the Spanish island.
For the young pairing of Williams and McErlean the event will give them more experience racing over different terrain.
“Although this is another asphalt event it will be totally different to Hungary which was more reminiscent of a Welsh road rally,” said Williams.
“We can’t thank Motorsport Ireland Academy, Hyundai Motorsport and PCRS enough for giving us this opportunity, this year is all about learning for both of us.
“The quality of entries on this year’s championship has been outstanding, and here again the quality is superb plus we’ve all the top Spanish Championship drivers.”
The Motorsport Ireland team will again comprise of a two-car set-up with Callum Devine, who also had an excellent result in Hungary driving another PCRS Rallysport run Hyundai i20 R5.
There are 10 British crews who have made the trip, including Hyundai works driver Craig Breen in the MRF Tyres Hyundai i20 R5 and countryman Pauric Duffy in another PCRS run Hyundai.
The Ford Fiesta R5s of Cathan McCourt, Gareth Sayers, Jason Mitchell and Scotsman Freddy Milne are also down to compete.
Reigning European champion Chris Ingram will be back behind the wheel, but this time doing development work on a new Clio RSR for German preparation company TokSport
Last years RAC Rally winner Marty McCormack will be a front runner in the historic category in the Tiger Risk Escort RS1800.
Friday’s opening leg offers nine tests totalling 100 kilometres.
This will be followed a day later by Saturday’s leg comprising eight stages with two runs of the longest stage of the event, a 15km test of the Valleco Disa.